Can you get free birth control without insurance?
64.9% of women between the ages of 15-49 use some form of birth control, according to the CDC.
The most popular methods include the contraceptive pill (12.6%), long-acting reversible contraceptives such as the implant (10.3%), and the male condom (8.7%).
Without insurance, though, three-quarters of those women wouldn’t be able to afford birth control if it cost more than $20 a month. And one in seven can’t afford it at any price.
With our reproductive rights being taken away, it’s more important than ever to make birth control affordable and accessible.
Here are all the ways to access birth control for free or at a low cost.
First of all: how much does birth control cost without insurance?
This is how much each form of birth control costs without insurance. Then we’ll show you how to get it for free or cheaper.
💙 The contraceptive pill can cost anywhere from $10-$50 per month, which is upwards of $120 a year. Of course, you also need a prescription for the pill. Add $35-$250 for an appointment with a doctor.
💙 Long-term contraception, such as the implant or IUD, can be anywhere from $100 - $1,500. The IUD can last for 10 years, which averages about $9 a month. So technically this is one of the cheapest options, but only if you happen to have a grand and a half hanging around.
💙The birth control with the lowest upfront cost is the male condom at $1 each. However, condoms are only 85% effective at preventing unintentional pregnancy, whereas IUDs are 99% effective, and the pill is 91% effective.
So for something essential, it’s pretty expensive, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Luckily there are ways to reduce or eliminate this cost.
How to access free birth control through Medicaid
You may qualify for low-cost or free health insurance through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) depending on your income and what state you live in.
If you qualify for either program, you can enroll anytime without waiting for the enrollment period. To find out if you qualify, visit your state’s Medicaid agency.
The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) requires that plans, including Medicaid, cover the costs of:
💙 barrier methods
💙IUDs and other implanted devices
💙 female sterilization procedures
Even the cheapest insurance plan reduces the out-of-pocket cost of birth control down to $0. That includes the doctor’s visit and the birth control medication or the device itself. You can find out more about accessing Medicaid on the Planned Parenthood website.
How to access free birth control through Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood works to provide the services you need, whether or not you have insurance. Most Planned Parenthood health centers accept Medicaid and other health insurance.
Even if you don’t have access to Medicaid, you can visit your local Planned Parenthood health center to find out if they can hook you up with birth control that fits your budget. While you're there, Planned Parenthood can also provide you with a prescription for contraceptives such as the birth control pill.
Depending on where you live, you may also be able to get birth control starting at $20/pack using the Planned Parenthood Direct app.
How to access free birth control through non-profit health clinics
Your community might have non-profit health clinics, public health centers or family planning clinics providing discounted or free reproductive health services. Family planning and STI clinics may provide condoms and spermicide for free if you simply walk into your nearest clinic.
At some clinics — for a nominal fee (usually $25 or less) — you can be seen by a physician, prescribed an appropriate birth control method and sometimes receive the contraceptive method you need, such as a shot, implant or intrauterine device.
How to access free birth control through Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHCs)
FQHCs provide healthcare on a sliding scale, but not all of them offer reproductive care. You can find your closest FQHC and see which services it offers on the Health Resources and Services Administration website.
How to access affordable birth control online
A contraceptive desert is a region where the number of health centers offering the full range of methods in the area isn’t enough to meet the needs of the population.
The states with the fewest clinic options for birth control include: South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Alabama and Alaska.
In this case, you might want to turn to ways of accessing birth control online. One way of doing this is with a telehealth company. A telehealth company may be cheaper than an IRL doctor’s visit, and many are able to issue prescriptions to your local pharmacy or directly to your house.
One downside of telehealth companies is that they can only provide birth control that doesn’t require medical assistance. So if you want an IUD, diaphragm or implant, you’ll need to see an in-person professional.
One example of a telehealth company is Favor. They offer free birth control if you have health insurance and low-cost birth control if you don’t.
People with insurance receive free virtual consultations, prescription refills, and generic Plan B and condom add-ons. Those without health insurance can choose from a 1-year or 3-month supply of birth control.
Stay safe out there. Big love 💙 Cleo
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